Monday, June 5, 2017

Breath of the Wild: DLC Pack 2 Speculation

This still might be too early, because at this point we haven't even seen the first DLC in action yet. We don't even know yet, when the first DLC will be released. But I've already put a lot of thoughts into this, where I want to share some ideas. Also, with the first DLC I came too late for some predictions, where it's probably best to share all of this as early as possible.

Here's what the official website says about the 2nd DLC's contents:

  • New dungeon
  • An original story
  • More new challenges

New Dungeon and Story

I think that these two will probably go hand in hand. So, you will play the new dungeon as part of the new story and the new story will lead you to the dungeon. Simple as that. The real question is, what kind of story and what kind of dungeon will we get?

So far the game has three different types of dungeons: the Sheikah Shrines (as mini dungeons), the Divine Beasts and Hyrule Castle. Hyrule Castle does have similar visuals to the Divine Beasts, but it's fully intertwined with the surrounding overworld. And it seems that the "Trial of the Sword" will use the same visuals as the shrines, but mixes it with overworld assets and enemies. It's doubtful, but possible that the new dungeon will come up with something entirely new.

At first I thought that they could just add another Divine Beast, after all you can play any number of them, before facing the final boss. Another Divine Beast then simply would add to the damage. However, they can't just add another boss like that, since because of the Boss Rush it would make the "early Ganon" challenge even harder by buying the DLC.

Also, it would break a certain pattern within the four Divine Beasts that the game already has established. Each Divine Beast dungeon represents one of the game's main elements and focuses on a specific Sheikah Slate Rune. The same goes for the four bosses, where each boss also fights in the style of one of the main weapon types in the game, which is the same as the Champion weapon that you get afterwards. So, you have a pattern like this:

  • Vah Medoh: Wind, Stasis, Bow/Distance
  • Vah Ruta: Ice, Cryonis, Spear
  • Vah Rudania: Fire, Bombs, Giant Blade
  • Vah Naboris: Electricity, Magnesis, Sword and Shield

Unless they also introduce a new rune, a new weapon type and weapon element for the DLC, I would doubt that there's going to be a fifth Divine Beast. Another problem would be the actual placement. It needs a large space to wander around and afterwards it needs to be placed somewhere, where it can sit and fire at Hyrule Castle. And it doesn't seem like there's any space left for this, despite there being quite some empty areas. In general the Faron region could use a dungeon, because it's only big region named after a Goddess that doesn't have one. But it's quite the overgrown area...

Also, from a story standpoint it would feel weird to introduce this now, since the Calamity Ganon lore ever only depicted four Divine Beasts and four Champions. Of course it's still possible that a fifth one was made and still needs to be excavated, where they even could bring back the Mogma race for the task. But all in all this would completely feel like it's coming out of nowhere.

Of course this is a general problem with the DLC, which is probably why Nintendo sneaked in the "Trial of the Sword" via the Master Sword pedestal to make it fit without altering the rest of the game too much. But the Sheikah Shrines and Towers also appear out of nowhere, where the 2nd DLC could make use of this "habit" to actually place a new dungeon somewhere in the environment. Finding a large shrine somewhere wouldn't feel entirely out of place.

And the Sheikah Shrines themselves are the closest that we got to a traditional dungeon in the game, you even have the typical Small Keys in some of them. It could be that they simply add a large, special Sheikah Temple to provide a classic Zelda dungeon experience.

Storywise it would be interesting to learn more about what happened 10.000 years ago at the rise of both Calamity Ganon and Sheikah technology. And it would also be interesting to know, how the Triforce still fits into all of this. We only briefly see it in the Calamity Ganon tapestry and it also seems to be part of Zelda's sealing power, but it never gets fully put into the picture or even mentioned by name.

I could even see the Triforce as the fifth dungeon icon. Right now you have the four animals of the Divine Beasts as icons on your loading screen (and for the Champion abilities), where another additional dungeon could represented as a Triforce icon. In the Four Swords Anniversary Edition they even added a new stage in form of a Triforce with the "Realm of Memories", which is why a Triforce-based DLC-dungeon would have a familiar tone to it.

Also, so far Nintendo has used the following artwork to advertise the DLC:

This doesn't have to mean anything, but it creates the impression that Zelda will also play an important part in the DLC story. It could technically even be possible that you're going to play in the epilogue scenario, where you travel together with Zelda after the defeat of Calamity Ganon to explore new shrines that have been appearing all over Hyrule, including a large temple.

However, this might be difficult to implement with the current system. You would enter this new stage of the game by defeating the final boss (so, everyone with a fully completed save file would simply have to beat Ganon again to get into the DLC). But this only should work, after you've freed all four Divine Beasts, because otherwise this might create a mess, especially if Zelda's supposed to be your companion in the DLC part. They probably would use the same requirements that you need to see the current epilogue, where you have to collect all 18 memories to get there (which includes freeing the Divine Beasts).

The rest of the game could stay the same, so you could still complete any other missing tasks with Zelda at your side. If you enter a shrine, she would wait at the entrance (and probably be annoyed), similar to how Marin waits for you in Link's Awakening, if you enter the Southern Face Shrine. Hyrule Castle would be still in ruins and you could explore it normally to find any missing Koroks or whatever, maybe even with Zelda at your side all the time, who could be giving some comments about her destroyed or study and other things. But the Guardians all should probably be gone, which makes this a little boring. But they could add new threats to this stage of the game...

This would also remedy the current ending of the game, which feels somewhat lackluster. But on the other hand we probably shouldn't expect as much, if the first DLC is any indication.

Additional Challenges

This could mean absolutely anything, but what I would like to see the most is new Sheikah Shrines, eight in total. Why exactly eight? Well, this would make this a total of 128 Sheikah Shrines, which is a pretty number in information sciences, an exponentiation of base 2, two times 64. Numbers like these are often used by Nintendo anyway. And considering that the new dungeon might give an additional Heart Container, it would allow you to reach the maximum of Heart Containers and Stamina Vessels in the game by collecting eight more Spirit Orbs.

It would also be nice to have a couple more travel points, for example the northern border of the Eldin region could desperately use a shrine there. Or there's nothing on the mountains north of Zora's Domain.

These new "EX shrines" could be made part of the epilogue scenario, where they look differently from normal shrines (similar to the EX chests) and where they suddenly have appeared all over Hyrule. Other than new Spirit Orbs they could hold the keys to the new Sheikah Temple dungeon. So, at first you'd have to find the eight new shrines, before you can explore the big new dungeon. Maybe they even contain eight Triforce Shards, where you'd have this classic Zelda quest in a new garb. Or it could work similar to the current game with the Divine Beasts, where finding the keys is optional, but helpful in the new dungeon, just on a much smaller scale. This way the players wouldn't be forced to look for the new shrines, if they don't want to.

What other "challenges" could there be? If it's a really just new shrines, they probably would have said so. Nintendo could come up with something entirely new here, which the game hasn't seen yet. They could also add a new type of overworld boss for another Medal of Honor. Or they could add new Side Quests, which might fill some gaps, for example there is currently nothing to do with the Lord of the Mountain.

New Armor

Most of the new rewards in the first DLC are new armor pieces, nine in total. And as chance would have it, the current armor menu then will have only room left for exactly nine more pieces of armor, if you only got one copy of everything. So, the armor menu will probably be filled at the very end, if you have all the DLC and all the amiibo gear.

The first DLC will add three different masks and for the second DLC I would like to see more pairs of boots. One could be the "Spiked Boots" that would provide the much needed ability to climb in the rain. The other could be the classic "Pegasus Boots" that make you walk faster without any food/potion effects.

As for full sets, I would love to have something similar to the Sword Master Suit from Tri Force Heroes, something that makes Link look like the most epic and glorious knight ever. With the release of Super Mario Odyssey they might also put Link in a Mario outfit, which makes him jump a little higher. And in general I would expect something super silly like an Agitha outfit (including the dress), which makes it easier to collect bugs. If Tri Force Heroes was any indication, then anything is possible when it comes to Link's wardrobe.

If it's just about pure functionality, I would like to have Bomb Outfit, where the bombs do (much) more damage and the set bonus prevents you from getting hurt by your own bombs.

Also, I would like to get more horse gear, like a Dragon Bridle and Saddle or an Ancient Bridle and Saddle.

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